In what appeared to be a deliberate and concerted effort to paralyse the Movement for Democratic Change soon after its election victory in March 2008, 10 Members of Parliament and two senators were jailed and formally charged.
Other MDC officials were detained without charge, harassed or pursued on unknown charges.
Here is a list of those who were arrested and charged.
Viewing cable 08HARARE622, ZANU-PF TARGETS MDC OFFICIALS
OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0622/01 2031347
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 211347Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3195
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2158
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2277
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0809
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1554
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1912
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2333
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4764
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1423
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 000622
AF/S FOR S. HILL
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS
STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/21/2018
SUBJECT: ZANU-PF TARGETS MDC OFFICIALS
REF: A. HARARE 621
¶B. HARARE 532
¶C. HARARE 513
Classified By: Charge d’affaires Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4(d).
¶1. (SBU) Even though the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) won a majority of seats in the March 29 parliamentary
elections, MDC officials continue to battle trumped-up
charges, evade bogus arrests, and endure harassment at the
hands of the ZANU-PF-run security structures. 10 MDC MPs and
two MDC Senators have been jailed and formally charged with
crimes since March. Other MDC officials have been detained
for days without charge, harassed, or pursued on unknown
charges. This intimidation has disrupted the MDC’s ability
to organize, communicate, campaign, and plan. Should
negotiations fail, it is possible, if not likely, that that
there will be a renewal of arrests and harassment to further
damage the MDC and prevent it from achieving a majority in
the House of Assembly. END SUMMARY.
MPs and Senator facing charges
¶2. (U) Below is a summary of the ten MDC MPs and two
Senators who have been charged with crimes since the March 29
election. There are no ZANU-PF elected officials facing
charges. Some of these cases were previously reported (Refs
B and C).
Naison Nemadziwa, MP-elect from Buhera South
Arrested: June 30, 2008
Charges: Inciting violence. He was arrested at gunpoint by a
group of six armed men, led by an army colonel, who loaded
him into an unmarked truck outside the high court in Mutare.
He was arrested just after winning a court case over the
losing ZANU-PF candidate and war veteran leader, Joseph
Chinotimba, who is believed to have played a significant role
in masterminding the terror campaign in the June 27 runoff.
Released on bail: July 4, 2008
Whereabouts: In hiding
John Masaba, Senator-elect from Kariba
Arrested: June 19, 2008
Charges: Inciting political violence. He was arrested as he
traveled towards his rural homestead, transporting relief
items for violence victims and campaign materials for Morgan
Tsvangirai. Police impounded the vehicle.
Released from remand prison: July 10, 2008
Shuwa Mudiwa, MP-elect from Mutare West
Arrested: June 18, 2008
Charges: Kidnapping a 13-year-old girl. Police allege he
kidnapped the girl on June 7 and locked her in a house; the
girl escaped and reported it to police. Mudiwa is a former
ZANU-PF member and Central Intelligence Organization (CIO)
operative who defected to the MDC.
Released: Date uncertain
Tendai Biti, MP-elect from Harare East and MDC Secretary
General (Ref B)
Arrested: June 5, 2008
Charges: Treason, based on the alleged publication of a
document prejudicial to the State; causing disaffection
within the police force; insulting the President; and
announcing the MDC had won the election before official
results were announced. If found guilty of treason, Biti
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could face the death penalty.
Released on bail: June 26, 2008. No trial date has been set.
Eric Matinenga, MP-elect from Buhera West (Ref C)
Arrested: May 31, 2008
Charges: Inciting public violence. In his court hearing on
June 4, the magistrate refused to put him on remand, saying
the State had failed to provide any evidence against him.
She dropped the charges against him.
Released: June 5, 2008
Re-arrested: June 7, 2008
Charges: The same public violence charges that the magistrate
dropped days earlier.
Ordered released: June 9, 2008
Released on June 26. His case has been remanded until August
Amos Chibaya, MP-elect from Gweru (Ref C)
Detained and Released May 21, 2008
Charges: “Undermining public confidence in the police force”
for comments he made at a rally about police officers having
voted for MDC.
Iain Kay, MP-elect from Marondera Central (Ref C)
Arrested: May 20, 2008
Charges: Inciting violence. Kay is accused of masterminding
violence in Mashonaland East. He was held for more than 48
hours before being formally charged. When he did appear in
court, the State appealed bail, which was eventually granted.
Released on bail: June 2, 2008. No trial date has been set.
Heya Shoko, MP-elect from Bikita West (Ref C)
Arrested: May 12, 2008
Charges: Public violence. He is accused of involvement in
violence and arson.
Released: May 14, 2008. No trial date has been set.
Misheck Shoko, MP-elect from Chitungwiza South (Ref C)
Arrested: May 12, 2008
Charges: Inciting violence. Accused of planning to raid a
ZANU-PF youth militia base in Seke.
Whereabouts: In jail. No trial date has been set.
Trevor Saruwaka, MP-elect from Mutasa Central (Ref C)
Arrested: May 11, 2008
Charges: Inciting violence. Saruwaka had gone to the
Penhalonga Police Station to look for an MDC youth abducted
by war veterans. He was ordered arrested at the police
Awarded bail: May 14, 2008
Released from jail: May 20, 2008. No trial date has been set.
Norman Mpofu, MP-elect from Bulilima East and
Lutho Tapela, Senator-elect from Bulilima-Mangwe (Ref C)
Detained: May 24, 2008
Charges: Holding an illegal meeting in Plumtree with two
Released: May 27, 2008
MPs held without charge
¶3. (U) In addition to the MPs that face charges, four MPs
and one Senator were held in jail without charge and later
Contin Muguti, MP-elect from Gokwe.
Muguti was abducted from his home by men in army uniforms.
He was held for three weeks and severely beaten. After he
was beaten, he was dumped in a police cell and denied medical
treatment for more than a week. He was finally released on
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Mayemureyi Munhuru, Senator-elect from Chimanimani.
Abducted with her husband from their home at gunpoint on June
¶24. No charges were filed, and both were later released
Abednico Bhebhe, MP-elect from Nyaki and Robert Rabson,
Senator-elect from Nyaki.
Detained: June 18, 2008
Released: June 27, 2008
They were detained when police impounded the vehicle Bhebhe
was driving. The police later claimed he had violated
Zimbabwean law by driving a vehicle (that belongs to his
cousin) without the owner’s permission. Despite two court
orders demanding that police release the vehicle, they
continue to hold the car. On July 16, Bhebhe filed contempt
of court charges against the police for refusing to comply
with the court orders.
Patrick Sibanda, MP-elect from Binga North.
Detained: June 18, 2008 for having a weapon (an ax) in his
Takalani Prince Matibe, MP-elect from Chegutu West.
Detained: June 12, 2008 shortly after hosting MDC President
Morgan Tsvangirai at his home.
MPs on the “wanted list”
¶4. (SBU) At least ten MPs were in hiding, based on warrants
for their arrest or warnings that they were on wanted lists.
In light of the MOU to be signed between ZANU-PF and the MDC
for negotiations, we believe police are no longer pursuing
Pearson Mungova, MP-elect from Highfield East.
Charges: Causing discontent among state security officers.
Elton Mangoma, MP-elect from Makoni North.
Charges: Inciting political violence.
On July 10, 2008, he was allowed to leave Zimbabwe to
participate in talks between the MDC and ZANU-PF in South
Africa, where he is one of the MDC’s negotiators.
Elijah Jembere, MP-elect from Epworth.
Charges: Rape. The charges were initially thrown out by a
Harare court, but the Zimbabwean Government appealed and put
him on a wanted list on the same charges.
Edmore Marima, MP-elect from Bikita East.
Charges: Attempted murder and inciting public violence.
Mathias Mlambo, MP-elect from Chipinge East.
Charges: Inciting public violence.
Broadwin Nyunde, MP-elect from Bindura South.
Charges: Inciting political violence.
Pineal Denga, MP-elect from Mbare.
Charges: Inciting political violence. His home and office
have been raided repeatedly.
Thabitha Khumalo, MP-elect from Bulawayo East.
Shepherd Mushonga, MP-elect from Mazowe Central.
Charges: Inciting political violence. He is wanted in
connection with clashes in Chaona in May that left 13 people
dead. On July 4, The Herald, the government mouthpiece,
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warned that Mushonga is armed and dangerous and also “wanted
in connection with several other cases of political violence.”
Joel Gabuzza, MP-elect from Binga South.
Charges: Unknown. He is in hiding after friendly police
warned him they’d been ordered to pick him up.
MPs face other forms of harassment, violence
¶5. (U) In addition, some MPs and their families have been
attacked, beaten, or harassed. They include:
Festus Dumbu, MP-elect from Zaka West.
The whereabouts of five members of Dumbu’s family are unknown
after they were abducted by ZANU-PF militants at the end of
Harrison Mudzuri, MP-elect from Zaka Central.
Mudzuri’s father’s homestead was attacked by 10 people in
army uniforms, some were armed. One of his relatives was
shot three times during the attack.
Marvellous Khumalo, MP-elect from St Mary’s.
Her home was petrol bombed.
Nelson Chamisa, MDC Spokesman.
Armed soldiers attacked and severely beat Chamisa’s parents,
78-year-old grandmother, and younger brother for two hours at
their rural home in Chiwara, Gutu South on May 31.
¶6. (C) Of the 110 MDC MPs (including both factions), almost
one quarter have since the March 29 elections been arrested
and charged, detained and released without charge, or placed
on an arrest list and gone into hiding. Numerous other local
MDC officials have been similarly targeted. The effect has
been to seriously damage the MDC’s organization and ability
to function, and to intimidate local communities that
supported these MDC MPs and officials. Another ZANU-PF
objective may be, by attrition, to prevent the MDC from
constituting a parliamentary majority when the House of
Assembly is convened and, as a majority, electing the
powerful House Speaker. A combined MDC would need 106 votes
to achieve a majority. The MOU (Ref A) calls for a delay in
convening Parliament while negotiations are ongoing and there
has been a recent let up in the arrest and harassment of MDC
officials. Should negotiations fail, it is possible, if not
likely, that that there will be a renewal of arrests and
harassment to further damage the MDC and prevent it from
achieving a majority in the House of Assembly. END COMMENT.